Expert Review: Smith I/O MAG Snow Goggles
This review is my honest opinion of the goggles, which I purchased with my own money in November of 2018.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the goggles, which I purchased with my own money in November of 2018.
I love my Smith I/O Mag Goggles: the Chromapop Storm Rose Flash Lens — included as the second lens on most models — is a fantastic lens for midwinter Northeast skiing and lower light days out West. The variety of Chromapop lenses for sunnier days consistently provide great optics and protection from the sun for my fairly sensitive eyes.
About this gear
- Model: 2018-2019 Smith I/O Mag
- Size: Medium
- Does it feature lens replacement?: Yes — with an easy magnetic system
- Fit: True to size
- Helmet: 2019 Giro
- Wear glasses with goggles: No
- Other: I have blue eyes that are sensitive to bright sunlight.
- Experience: 45 years
- When I bought them November 2018
- Days used: 200
- Lenses I own : Chromapop Storm Rose Flash, Sun GRee
- Weather conditions used in: Every possible condition from rain to driving snow; cloudy days to summer glacier skiing
- Where I’ve used them (Snowbird, Alta, Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, UT; Aspen, Arapahoe Basin, CO; Jackson Hole, WY; Big Sky, MT; Hintertux, Austria; my home Mountain: Belleayre, Whiteface, NY; Stowe, Killington and Sugarbush, VT):
- Terrain: Groomers, trees, high-alpine conditions with low light, powder days, spring conditions.
How they perform
What I was looking for
I wanted one goggle with quality optics that I could use at my north-facing Northeast home mountain and on trips out West in conditions from bluebird to cloudy. I needed a bright lens that had sunglass-quality eye protection and distortion-free optics. And, I was intrigued by having a magnetic lens attachment, because I had sometimes struggled to get the tabs to fit “just right” on non-magnetic interchangeable lenses.
Why I chose this gear
I have always liked Smith’s Storm Rose Flash Lens as a fantastic low-light lens, and I wanted to stick with that. I also considered The Anon M1 system, but decided to stick with the Smith system — mostly because of my experience with the Storm Rose Lens, but also because I liked the fact that in addition to the magnetic attachment, there was a single tab to secure the lens. Before I got the I/O mag, I had used a number of non-magnetic Smith I/O goggles: I loved those lenses, but found that changing lenses, especially on a chair or in a gondola, was sometimes a bit difficult.
What I love about them
- Fit: I really like the fit of the I/O Mag. They are comfortable on my face and once I put them on, I don’t even notice that they are there.
- Comfort: I find that the goggle is very comfortable to wear in a range of temperatures and humidity.
- Lens replacement: The magnetic lens change on these goggles is incredibly easy both in the lodge or on the lift. The release and attachment are fantastic.
- Visibility: With a very nice field of vision, the I/O mag features a low light lens. The Chroma Pop Storm Rose Flash is the best low-light lens I have ever used. It’s my go-to lens for December through February in the East, and storm days anywhere.
- Strap: The strap works great with or without a helmet on and is easily adjustable.
- Helmet compatibility: I have a Giro-helmet shaped head. But I still love the Smith I/O mag with my Giro helmet
- Features: The magnetic lens attachment makes switching lenses a breeze.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Durability: After four years and 200 days the foam is starting to degrade (slightly) and the lenses are still in solid shape. Any goggle lens will scratch if it’s dropped on concrete. My solution is to place the goggle inside the helmet when I take a break and take my helmet off.
- Ventilation: The ventilation on the I/O mag is solid, but NO goggle is completely fog proof. If I ski in the rain one day, I’ll be sure to dry the goggle out before the next day; guess what: the removable lens makes that even easier
Favorite moment with this gear
I’ve skied with these in winter, spring and even summer. I love the fact that on storm days and in flat light, I can still see definition with the Storm Rose Flash. I loved that I was able to use the Sun Green Mirror lens to ski comfortably in the high-alpine environment of the Hintertux Glacier in the middle of July.
Value for the money vs. other options
The I/O Mag gives me two very good (and easily interchangeable) options for the price of one: sunglass-worthy protection AND a great low-light lens that I can easily switch between when the weather changes. These considerations make this a great choice for someone who skis a lot. For those who only ski in the East, a single-lensed goggle should be fine. But for those who ever ski in high-alpine environments with bright sunshine, these are a great choice.
The Smith I/O Mag Goggles are expensive but worth it for anyone who spends time skiing out West and skis when it is cloudy or snowing.